FEC ruling shoves Old Media & Bi-partisan elites back in their place by affirming the people’s own 1st Amendment right to freedom of the press 9/6/07Posted by Steve Boriss in Uncategorized.
Everything you learned in school about freedom of the press was wrong. The American nation has got the un-American notion that the First Amendment’s call for freedom of the press actually granted special rights to a special group of people called “the press.” How could that possibly be, given that the country was founded on the belief that there were no “special” people and everyone had the same rights? Moreover, the First Amendment was written at a time when there were no journalists as we think of them now – a time when newspapers were produced mostly in one-man shops by “printers” (not “reporters,” “journalists,” “columnists,” or “editors”), 30 years before the country even had its first full-time reporter.
The preceding phrase in the 1st Amendment grants all of us freedom of speech so that we can say what is on our minds, and the correct reading grants all of us “free use of the printing press” so we can publish what is on our minds. In a letter to Noah Webster, Jefferson referred to this vital need for “free presses,” a usage that makes it clear he was talking about machines and not special people.
And yet, out of either ignorance or malice, Old Media and elites on both sides of the aisle supported the indefensible McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill – a bill which increased their free speech and press rights at the expense of everyone else by banning all broadcast political advocacy advertising mentioning candidates’ names within 60 days of a federal election. Thankfully, they were just dealt a crushing blow-back when the FEC affirmed lefty blog DailyKos.com’s right to political advocacy, establishing that every blog can say whatever it wants during that crucial 60-day period (see Mary Katharine Ham). In other words, all men are created equal and have the same inalienable rights. Bloggers and journalists, same rights. It’s an idea that ought to seem more self-evident than revolutionary.